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France |  Quebec shines in the gardens of the Loire River

France | Quebec shines in the gardens of the Loire River

(Chaumont-sur-Loire) On April 24, the International Garden Festival opened in the Chaumont-sur-Loire region of France. The guests of honor for the 2024 edition of the Jardins de Métis have been revealed folkloreTheir vision of a garden is woven in Quebec tradition and looks to the future.


Birds and frogs scream despite the falling rain that turns to drizzle in milder bursts. In this inviting grey, some thirty new gardens designed by artisans from around the world light up the site. They are many changing works in an open-air museum.

Photo by Philip Devane, Getty Images

Chaumont-sur-Loire is located in the Loire Valley in France.

The Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire is one of those exceptional places that, even in the Loire Valley where World Heritage landscapes abound, is in a class of its own. A place of cultural, artistic and historical encounter, the site is rejuvenated every year by the International Horticultural Festival held from April to November.

Since 1992, more than 900 gardeners' works, mainly selected by competition, have been presented there. Les Jardins de Métis is among the few guests of honor to receive a “green card”.

Expectations are high. Chaumont is an opportunity to showcase Quebec knowledge and make a name for itself internationally.

Alexander Revord, Métis Park Director

Among the thirty new gardens presented in this program under the slogan “Garden of the Source of Life,” folklore It stands out with a more conceptual creativity that offers a reflection on the park as a cultural building. Designed by the Jardins de Métis team with landscape architects Luu Nguyen and Émilie Tanguay-Pelchat, this installation addresses tradition in a contemporary and interactive way.

Model the garden of the future

Photo by Eric Sander, courtesy of Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire

From left to right, Alexandre Revord, Le Nguyen, Yves de Garry-Lamanc, and Emilie Tanguay-Pelchat

folklore It presents itself: graphic, interesting, vibrant. Four kilometers of thread woven into large frames form a colorful weft that evokes arrows, a finger-weaving technique classified as an intangible heritage of Quebec.

The Métis team has been piloting this project for about a year. “We wanted a vision that took the past into account,” says Yves de Gary Lamanc, artistic director of the International Métis Gardens Festival. In today's digital and consumer age, we are very focused on the future. We have stopped passing on some knowledge. We feel the need to know who we are and where we come from. »

  • A point of view on folklore

    Photo by Eric Sander, courtesy of Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire

    point of view about folklore

  • A point of view on folklore

    Photo by Eric Sander, courtesy of Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire

    point of view about folklore

  • A point of view on folklore

    Photo by Eric Sander, courtesy of Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire

    point of view about folklore

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The inspiration came from the arrow belt of Elsie Reford, creator of the Jardins de Métis garden.

“While we were looking for ideas, Alexander [Reford] Tell us about Elsie's silk belt, says Le Nguyen. I was hesitant at first. We all keep in mind the Bonhomme Carnaval and other clichés associated with the arrow scarf. But as we did our research, we realized how rich this tradition is. Basically, we know very little about them. »

The meeting with model Yvette Michelin, one of the few who still master this ancestral knowledge that she has been teaching for more than 60 years, was decisive. She is also the author of a book on archery, in which she describes the technique in the language of the landscape: “It speaks of the outward journey, the return journey, the diagonals, the intersections. It is the discourse of walking. This is where we came together,” note the landscape architects who conveyed the choreography This to the garden.

Everyone has their own imaginary belt

Photo by Eric Sander, courtesy of Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire

folklore He brings the language of arrows to the garden, through an installation made of recycled materials that embodies an environmentally, economically and culturally responsible vision of the future.

From the front, the panels transparently reveal a botanical palette evoking the boreal forest, its growth and vegetation. Its frame becomes more dense when viewed from the side. Depending on the movements of the observer, the structures overlap to form a large number of arrow belts whose colors are reminiscent of the white of snow, the blue of the sky, the red of autumn foliage, the green of the forest, and the yellow flowers of the meadow. .

We didn't want to literally carry the arrow belt into the park. The challenge was to represent it dynamically and create a lively and kinetic effect.

Emilie Tanguay-Pelchat, landscape architect

The result is a play of colors that changes according to the movements and moments of the season. The belt is constantly being reinvented through the eyes of visitors. Everyone leaves with what they think. Despite its static structure, the site comes alive during visits. The audience experiences the concept and gives way to their playful side, playing with shadows, strings and overlay effects.

“We received a lot from Chaumont, who also inspired us when creating our own festival in Metis,” says Jardins des Metis director Alexandre Revord. In a gesture of reciprocity, the team extends an invitation to Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire which will have its own garden in Grand-Métis during the summer, from 24 to 25 June.H International Metis Garden Festival.

This trip was organized in collaboration with Atout France. This trip was paid in part by the Val-de-Loire Regional Tourism Committee and Air Canada, and they had no right to review the content of this report.


Visit the Domaine Chaumont-sur-Loire website


Visit the Jardins de Métis website

A little history

It was introduced to Quebec by the Ursulines in the 17th centuryH In the last century, the arrow has been passed down between generations of women over the centuries. It requires a few accessories, but a lot of knowledge and time. Weavers do their work with one hand, the right, to free the other hand for other tasks. “This shows that we haven't been multitasking for a long time!” Le Nguyen confirms with a laugh.

The arrow belt worn by French Canadians and the Métis nation had several uses, including keeping warm, healing wounds, or carrying loads. This game was initially popular among backcountry bikers, then was generally adopted in Lower Canada, but fell out of fashion at the turn of the 20th century.H last century before experiencing a brief resurgence in the 1960s, however, it is still alive thanks to some craftsmen such as Yvette Michelin, who made sure to include the word fléchirande in. Large glossary of terms From the Quebec Office of the French Language.

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